DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) – Sensitive Santa was back at the Dayton Mall on Sunday morning.
This is the tenth year for th program.
Sensitive Santa was designed for kids with autism after a parent from the Dayton Autism Society told mall associates that bringing their kids to see Santa is “impossible.”
The first year, 30 kids came out for the program.
Ten years later, Sensitive Santa is an annual event at the Dayton Mall and across the country and world, according to the Dayton Mall Marketing Director David Casper.
Casper said they get calls all the way from Canada and even Australia to send them tips and materials for the program.
The event is special because there is no music, low lights and a calm atmosphere.
Parents reserve times to come with their kids and they can take as much time as they want.
“We make it a really customized experience for them,” said Casper, “and they can see Santa on their own terms.”
He said that a lot of the kids are non-verbal, and some don’t even sit on Santa’s lap, “they just hand Santa a note.”
Casper said that it’s a tradition for some families, and that there are kids who have been coming since the first Sensitive Santa event.